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Companies should move from asking what consumers want, to shaping what consumers want.

Consumer Sociologist | One of The 40 Best Business Professors Under 40

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The Secret to Bird Feeding

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The Secret to Bird Feeding | Markus Giesler

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York Circle Lecture with Markus Giesler

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Markus Giesler is something of a rockstar in the world of business academia, and not just because he regularly consults for top-tier brands like Apple, Google, and BMW. Named one of the best business professors under 40, Markus is actively turning the traditional world of marketing on its head by using sociological insights—rather than economic research—to design better markets and customer experiences. In talks, this marketing firecracker shows us how to leverage technology and culture to create a captivating customer journey that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Markus Giesler created two of the most sought-after electives at York University’s Schulich School of Business. The first, the wildly popular Entertainment Marketing, is the longest-standing course in the school’s BBA program. The second, “Customer Experience Design,” is downright historic: it is the world’s first MBA course on customer experience, and the only marketing course to be endorsed by the American Marketing Association. Markus is a pioneer of the academic theory “Big Design”, which suggests that a market’s evolving economic, technological, and cultural fabric shapes—and is shaped by—multiple actors and institutions. In his class, and through his work as the Director of the Big Design Lab, he uses this multifaceted approach to understanding what drives product success. “Stop looking at needs. Stop looking at the psychologically oriented idea of what the consumer wants. That’s almost Fruedian,” Markus explains. “Start developing a more sociologically oriented understanding of how cultures change, and how new energies can be captured and turned into economic capital.”

One of the best recognized experts studying high-technology consumer behavior.WIRED

Named “one of the best recognized experts studying high-technology consumer behavior” by WIRED, and dubbed a “young business school star professor on the rise” by CNN, it’s unsurprising that Markus is in high demand among business leaders, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. Rational concerns about consumer behavior rarely tell the whole story, he says. Instead, his groundbreaking talks help us unravel the deeply intimate, and deeply ingrained, motivations for consumption that lie beneath the surface.

Markus is an associate editor at the Journal of Marketing and on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Marketing Letters, and Business & Society. His research is frequently cited in The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and WIRED, among others.


Markus was a guest and speaker at the Fireside Conference and was both incredible and inspiring! I highly recommend him!

Fireside Conference

Speech Topics

The Culture QuestionDesigning Better Markets for a Better World

Markus Giesler encourages us to approach consumption as a sociological design challenge—a passionate plea rooted in both research and practice. “Culture is probably the most underestimated success factor in business,” he says. Whether you need to sustain an existing market, convince local governments to legalize a new technology such as ride sharing, or establish yet another yogurt brand, “the winner will always be whoever has the best strategy for managing the cultural, moral, and political factors that structure what consumers think they want at a given point in time.” In this talk, Markus will show you how our choices, preferences and goals as consumers are never natural. Rather, they are embedded in systems of people and things, carefully constructed to support a particular idea or innovation. “It’s the marketer’s job to properly recognize and navigate these systems,” and Markus will help you do it.

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Artificial Intelligence
The Human Experience of AIMaking Machines Work for Us

Most companies think of Artificial Intelligence as technology. But as Markus Giesler explains, it’s much more than smart objects and algorithms: it’s a force that has tremendous influence on our social reality—one that many people are afraid of. AI has fully entered the consumer marketplace and business landscape, and it has a profound influence on shaping who we are, in our everyday reality: influencing how we navigate, choose, discover—but many people have fears. How do we understand these anxieties, and more importantly, what do they mean for business, as more and more of our work and our lives converge with machine learning? In a groundbreaking study, Markus compared news stories about AI to six decades of science-fiction, to pinpoint precisely people’s fears about robots and machines—and now, he offers tips on how to address them. AI is a human experience, not a technology: drawing from advisory cases with Facebook and IBM, Markus explores ways that organizations can understand peoples’ aversion to AI—and offers strategies on how to make machine learning more appealing and trustworthy, both within your business and to consumers.

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